I often get asked what I think is the most important question any expat faces: Where should we look for a house? What is the best place to live?
Of course this is impossible to answer definitively, as it depends on so many factors - work, school, budget, lifestyle, size, etc. But often it's also hard to find good information about a particular suburb you might be looking at.
Therefore, I was thrilled to come across this promotional video about the suburb of Lonehill that I think very effectively gives prospective residents an idea of what life there might look like. It's an area a little south of Dainfern right off of William Nicol Drive, an up-and-coming neighborhood that I think still flies a little under the radar of the expat crowd and therefore might offer a better overall value than the mainstays of Dainfern and Fourways Gardens. See for yourself:
Lonehill has many great things going for it. Have you ever been to the Lonehill Koppies? I had lived in Joburg for a year before figuring out that not 5 minutes from our house there was this cool nature reserve right in between shopping malls and residential areas which I believe some naturalists bill as one of Joburg's prime bird watching spots.
Lonehill is also an open suburb as opposed to the surrounding enclosed estates. I recall visiting a friend there once and being amazed that I could drive up to her house without the tedious security procedures we associate with living in South Africa. This doesn't mean that Lonehill is any more dangerous. In fact, it's billed as one of Joburg's safest open suburbs. You can read more about Lonehill in this informative article on Property24.
I don't know if Lonehill is the right place for you. But if I was moving to Johannesburg, I'd give it a serious look. It's within easy reach of the American International School to the north and several excellent South African private schools to the south. There is convenient shopping all around, restaurants, cafes, the mall, and well, the Koppies (if you're not familiar with South African lingo, a koppie is a little hill and the word is often used for nature reserves that are strewn around cities like Johannesburg).
For further reading on where to live in Johannesburg, I suggest the following:
Finding a House in Johannesburg: Part 1. Questions you should be asking yourself in preparing to move to Johannesburg.
Finding a House in Johannesburg: Part 2. Includes a comprehensive listing of Joburg suburbs and a description of each.
Where to Live: Dainfern or Dainfern Valley? If you are dead-set on living in either of those two neighborhoods, this might sway you one way or another. Hint: We lived in one of them.
Private Schools in Johannesburg. There is a reason this is Joburg Expat's top-rated post with 60,000 page views. Selecting a school often comes before selecting your suburb, so this is a good place to start.
Sandton Field and Study Centre: Boring Name, Beautiful Park. A great article by 2Summers about another one of Joburg's lesser-known nature reserves, if living close to a nature reserve is important to you.